Technical Specifications: Total dependency ratio (100 pop.)

Indicator name
(English / Spanish)
Total dependency ratio (100 pop.)
Razón de dependencia total (100 habs.)
Indicator ID DR_100
Domain Sociodemographic
Subdomain Demographic
Definition

Average number of economically dependent persons for every 100 economically productive persons, for a given country, territory or geographic area, at a specific point in time.

An economically "dependent" population is defined as the sum of the population aged 0 to 14 plus the population aged 65 and over for a given country, territory or geographic area, at a specific point of time, usually mid-year (July 1), while the economically "active or productive" age population corresponds to the population aged 15 to 64, for the same country, territory or geographic area, at the same specific point of time.

Unit Percent
Measure Ratio
Type of statistics Corrected/Predicted
Purpose

This indicator reflects the inactive population segment, which must be sustained by the potentially productive portion of the population, so it is related to economic indicators and has direct application in the formulation of budgetary, employment and social security policies.

The higher the dependency rate, the greater the burden that the potentially productive population must assume to support the potentially inactive population, that is, the working-age population must support a large proportion of dependents.

It can also be applied to monitor the aging process of a country, territory or geographic area.

Method of estimation

For countries with a population greater than 90 thousand inhabitants, the figures are estimates from the United Nations, based on data that represent values estimated as of July 1st, obtained by linear interpolation of the corresponding five-year population projections of the United Nations, using the medium-variant projections.

For countries with less than 90 thousand inhabitants, the figures are PAHO calculations based on estimates from the US Census Bureau International Database. The US Census Bureau population projections are based on the cohort component method.

Dependency ratio: (<15 years of age and 65+ years of age) / (15-64) * 100 .

Interpretation example

In 2015, the dependency ratio of country A was 43.8, that is, there were 43.8 dependent persons for every 100 economically active persons.

Disaggregation  
Limitations

The quality and international comparability of this indicator may be limited due to factors such as the inaccuracy in the declaration of age in censuses and demographic surveys or the methodology for producing population estimates and projections.

In reality, these are potentially inactive and potentially active populations, because not all people aged 0-14 or those aged 65 and over are out of the labor market, nor are all those aged 15-64 working.

Since the dependency ratio is affected by factors that influence the labor market, such as the incorporation of young people and older adults or the exclusion of people of working age, this indicator should be analyzed in combination with economic parameters.

Data source

For countries with a population greater than 90 thousand inhabitants:
United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. World Population Prospects. Available in:United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. World Population Prospects. Available from: https://population.un.org/wpp/

For countries with a population of less than 90 thousand inhabitants:
Census Bureau of the United States of America. International database. Available from: https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/international-programs/about/idb.html

PAHO update periodicity Annual
Link to SDG

n/a

References
PAHO Contact Andrea Gerger, gergeran@paho.org
Update date August 13, 2021
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